Messing around in Notes

June 25, 2012

Improvisation. Why is it when I want to, I can’t, and when I do, it’s almost unexpected? I have been improvising all my musical life. It started by swinging the quavers in simple melodies in the very first piano books I was given to learn from, and continues to this day. I love to sit down for half an hour or so and just let rip. Read the rest of this entry »

Experiment in random exposure…

February 14, 2012

… not a photography thing, nor something illegal in any town within Her Britannic Majesty’s Commonwealth. Read the rest of this entry »


January 8, 2012

Not that long ago, I “discovered” Bandcamp and what it can do for me. Read the rest of this entry »

An open invitation…

January 2, 2011

I need to find a fresh direction with some of the music I’m doing at the moment.

There is the more-than-half-my-lifetime spent playing in church, mostly on piano. There’s the misguided youth of playing cheesy covers and filling out the back row of a band or two, playing keyboards. There are the occasional choir things, the music degree, the range of odd or at least unexpected instruments I now own. I’m even getting to grips finally with the bouzouki.

What does all this sum to?

I feel like I should be beginning a new project or trying to work something out. I have plenty of particles of ideas, and a broad context in which I know some of this will be acceptable. I am, however, not about to release a concept album. That’s way too 70s for me.

But I do want to find something.

So, here it is. Please feel free to get on board. Or invite me on board. You can find some of my stuff here. I’m on twitter. Comment on this post. Whatever you do, get in touch and let’s make something.

New stuff to organise, or Why Twitter rocks.

May 5, 2010

I’ve written a story. It’s only 500 words and I’d love to enter it into some flash fiction competition or other, but it’s difficult to know where to begin, or even how good the material is in the first place.

I’ve also (by coincidence) just exposed the world to some new songs which I have written, and now I’m wondering how to go about recording and publishing them.

Finally, I’ve just about got enough poems from the poetry blog I keep to publish a book. I tried to do it through but now I’m wondering if it might not be easier to do it myself and use a local printer to make sure I have more direct control. How should I start to think about this then?

For all these little questions, I have used the network of friends and associates I have acquired over the last few months on Twitter. In fact, feel free to follow me if you’re at all interested. Their insight and help is great. Not sure who to go to for printing? Bash an enquiry over to a few friends who work in graphic design and media. Want to publish music and thinking of the huge task of doing it online? I happen to follow someone who knows about Bandcamp, and the uses this lovely little project can be to a tech-savvie but non-geeky band.

For all the things my wife says about wasting time on social networking, I have to admit that from finding out which is the greatest pizza delivery locally (Buddy’s: 01922 456456) to thrashing the makers of Zoo magazine about the Danny Dyer incident that broke today, Twitter and sites and services like it really hit the spot.

If it wasn’t for the fact that I have seen 40-page documents telling me how to “use” Twitter to get what I want, I’d be truly impressed. Generally I find it’s just a useful way to advertise, socialise, inform, communicate and debate.

Turn on the Lights

March 26, 2009

I have just been honoured to witness the fruit of an unusual and exciting labour of love for some friends of mine.

They are talented musicians trying to make it in the big world. They have supported Razorlight, headlined local gigs and finally settled upon their EP content. As a contributor (my trombone has done its service!) I have been allowed a brief glimpse of the genius to come.

I heartily recommend that everyone listen to Rogue States and buys their EP. It’s not because I like them, because they pay me to advertise or even because my name is in the credits. It’s simply because I shall be driving some of these tunes up my Most Played in short order. At least two of those tracks deserve to be played at full volume with the windows open (or top down if you’re rich enough) as you roll up to work this summer.

The lyric work and standard of production are exquisite, and the sheer energy of the opening tracks is breathtaking.

Oh boy, I can’t wait for the release. It will be called Kings of the Ghost Town Mile and I’m going to love it. See if you do too.

Wonderful Day

February 20, 2009

Today I finished recording a song written less than two weeks ago. It’s all very well to be doing this when you’re some hot shot musician with a massive following, but I’m not. So, what’s the point?

Firstly, I need to write. I enjoy the process of writing something, and seeing it worked out in detail. I used to write a lot of instrumental music at the piano, but recently it has made more sense to be writing songs.

Secondly, I’m doing the whole three rules thing from the last paragraph of my post a couple of days ago. The song is relevant to my experience as a Christian and as such is an expression of part of my faith and how that operates. The themes are simple and easy to understand. It’s simple to sing along with (a bit high in parts, but it’s not supposed to be for church congregations to sing) and it is (in my not-so-humble opinion) good. That is, I like it.

Besides the simplicity and relevance, what else am I aiming for?

The song has some interesting chord sequences. It’s in a slow but driven tempo with a positive on-beat rhythm supplied by the piano. It is simple in structure, relying on that old staple verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus routine that has made superstars of many a boy band

“Please do not take this as a criticism of your work…”

February 19, 2009

The kind but slightly odd words of a publisher politely declining to publish one of my Christmas carols included a phrase indicating their refusal isn’t criticism.

I realise they have a duty not to drive the hopelessly optimistic to suicidal self-loathing, but do they need to tell such a bare-faced lie? In an attempt to avoid comparisons with less kind feedback, have they simply pushed beyond the meanings of the words they use? Read the rest of this entry »